The State of Entrepreneurship (Starter Upper Challange)

South Africa doesn’t support entrepreneurs, if you are not well connected you will fail. If you don’t have the support of any kind you will fail. If you are innovative but have no finance to build your product you will fail. It’s even harder when you are black as well because you have to deal with black tax before even dealing with building your business. It takes about 3-4 years for your business to make it out of the surviving phase and during that phase you are struggling just to maintain yourself. When you see a young entrepreneur being helped by a corporate company, it’s just beautiful to watch.

South Africa is at a point where it actually needs entrepreneurs, it’s small businesses that will hire more youth compared to the private sector; actually, the private sector is looking into replacing people with more machines and Artificial Intelligence, so if there is any hope for the youth it’s with the entrepreneurs. Being part of the Total Startupper from the beginning gave me hope about the role corporate is playing towards building South African small business. At the finale, I was surprised to meet many young entrepreneurs in the energy sector building things that I never even thought would need any solving. More importantly, I was happy to see a lot of women within the entries of the competition. I really believe that entrepreneurship is the long-term solution to unemployment in this country and helping small businesses is the best place to start at this point.

Here is how the Startupper Challenge works

About Startupper of The Year Challenge:

The first Startupper of the Year by Total Challenge, held in 2015-2016, involved 34 African countries. It aimed to encourage social entrepreneurship and help under-35-year-olds develop their concepts or start-ups less than two years old. Following the success of the first Challenge, the 2018-2019 Challenge was extended to a total of 55 countries around the world.


Total’s aim is to support good ideas and projects that help address widespread problems affecting communities in various countries. It could be about providing educational opportunities, reducing child mortality, improving public health, developing access to electricity in rural areas, improving road safety on the roads or building houses with eco-friendly materials — in fact, anything that could make life better across the globe.


Startupper of the Year by Total Challenge supports and rewards young local entrepreneurs in any business sector with a project or business less than two years old. The project or business owner must not be more than 35 years in age and the participant must be a citizen of the country where he/she participates.


Total encouraged participants to enter and demonstrate how their project will help more and more people over time, at home or even abroad. Projects need to empower people, improves living conditions, and contributes to overall economic well-being in order to gain a spot in the finals. In each participating country, a local jury comprised of experts from Total, specialists from incubators and accelerators, business leaders and local community stakeholders will select three winners.

The projects will be assessed based on their:

·        Innovative nature: Innovation isn’t necessarily revolutionary, involving something brand new or a total transformation. It can be incremental as well, improving an existing technology, product or service, or even just the way things are done.

·        Social and community impact: The project should offer a practical way of addressing public health, safety, education, accessibility or other issue affecting local communities.

·        Feasibility and development potential: Projects that demonstrate the feasibility and have the potential to benefit a broader public.


The Prize:

Three winners from each country will receive financial support, extensive publicity, and coaching. From among these three winners per country, Total will be selecting grand winners per region, who will be offered additional support.

This year, a Top Female Entrepreneur category was introduced. During the first Challenge, women accounted for almost 25% of the winners, even though they only made up 13% of the applicants. With this special award this year, Total hopes to give women entrepreneurs an extra push to take part. It is also aligned with Total’s other initiatives for women.

Each winner will be awarded the “Startupper of the Year by Total” label and receive financial support of at least R150 000 up to R500 000, plus professional coaching and extensive publicity to advertise their project.

A grand jury will meet subsequently to select three Grand Winners for the entire continent, from among the first-prize winners in each country.


Photo by Quentin Keller on Unsplash

  • Nina
    10th May 2019

    More private companies need to have such initiatives geared towards entrepreneurs and in as much not everyone is a entrepreneur but our education system needs to be in such a way that those that are out of school or varsity,can exchange their skills or wares for an income up until they employed.

    • admin
      10th May 2019

      Education is another sector that needs to be looked at because it’s going to kill us in the long run as a country

  • Malibongwe Mlambo
    16th May 2019


    My Name is Malibongwe Mlambo. I am a former wits student. I would like to take this moment and present to you a project that I believe could be the next stepping stone to our Social development and also in academic preferences.

    In the year of 2018, I started developing a platform called PAGiiS (PAGiiS Network). The aim of this app dev was to create a public user-Friendly network. Where Strangers could be able to communicate easily but still taking into consideration their safety and also the safety of the content they wish to share with the public.


    PAGiiS uses what We (The PAGiiS team) call RLDC(radius location data capture), basically this means PAGiiS looks at the location of the user, for safety issues the safely considered radius is 50-100 m which is close to the same range as that of Wifi. Therefore PAGiiS looks for other PAGiiS users and captures the content posted on PAGiiS for other users within the same radius to view. Once the users are outside of range with each other the connection is cut.


    This could be very useful for student surveys in the sense that the students who are using PAGiiS can use PAGiiS to collect data from other students and the public for their surveys in a more effective very easy way. Pagiis can also be used as a tool to expand the Social life of Students thus making students more closer and more understanding of other students not just their friends.


    1. Social

    In our present-day, it is obvious that our Social life depends mostly on our mobile devices, almost every 9 out of ten people have a smartphone now. We can not even if we wanted to, take smartphones away from people rather We as the PAGiiS team believe that with the right platforms the use of mobile devices can be positively affected. Instead of trying to resist the evolution of tech it is best that we adapt and create better platforms for people to use.

    1.1.2 Social Scenario (TAXI or TRAIN RIDE)

    Take a Scenario where one is in public transport it could be a taxi or train. If one passenger is looking on their mobile device and they find something funny and laughs out loud, minding your own business you can’t seem to shake off the feeling of wondering what the person could be laughing at, but because of the social awkwardness you can not ask what the person is laughing at, and only to find out that the person does wanna share the joke but it is hard because well you do not know each other. That is Where PAGiiS Come in and Bridge that GAP.

    2. Advertisement

    Marketing and Advertisement is one of the most essential tools of the present-day industrial world. And it is obvious that every company wants to get to its market in a more efficient way possible. With the introduction of PAGiiS spreading information to the right market can never be any easier. The Society is connected and PAGiiS does not only Connect friends or families rather it connects societies and Even communities.

    2.1 Advertisement Scenario (Fliers Handouts )

    Handing out Fliers to the public is one of the nightmares for the ones handing out fliers and also for the public. With PAGiiS in operation that can no longer be an issue. Instead of handing out Fliers the user can post their advertisement on PAGiiS and Where ever they go PAGiiS users can capture the advertisement and decide what to do with it immediately or later on when they have time on their hands.


    Due to dev technicality, the early version of PAGiiS will only allow users to share information in terms of Picture posts. Other features like file sharing, music sharing, comments, likes, and chats will be enabled as the platform progresses. The main aim is to efficiently introduce the new concept that PAGiiS brings to the future of data capturing.

    If you find the Idea good and think that, it is cool and awesome please use the link below to go and download the app from google play Store.

    Thank You

    Malibongwe Mlambo

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